Sunday, April 26, 2009

Hillstown Orange Hall

Graeme and I had the great privilege of playing last night at Hillstown Orange Hall, for part of their 1859 Revival Commemoration weekend. The folk there have done a great job - there was a tremendous Revival exhibition provided largely by Rev Stanley Barnes, and a section by the local folk too. The group's chairman, Alec Wallace, recited two poems, one of which was a WF Marshall poem about the Covenanters. We played about 8 pieces, a couple of which the audience joined in with and sang with real power, especially "Victory in Jesus". And you can't do an 1859 Revival night without doing "What's the News" and "Gran Time Comin"!

It was lovely to renew acquaintance with Davy and Edith Reid - I had a great conversation with Davy at the end of the night over a cup o tay. He, Edith and Daryl Close - all from 1st Portglenone Presbyterian - also played about 8 pieces, with Davy on lowland pipes. Beautiful music, and a delight to sit and enjoy it. They're out singing 3 or 4 nights a week now, so keep an eye out for them and go and see them if they're in your neck of the woods.

It was one of those special, simple, rural Ulster nights. In 1625, revival visited Ulster through a group of ordinary Ulster-Scots folk meeting in a simple hall - the "Antrim Meetings". In 1859, revival returned, and again began through a group of ordinary Ulster-Scots folk meeting in a simple hall. And if it returns, the likelihood is it'll be through ordinary folk once again meeting in a simple way.

A lovely evening, it was a joy to be there. Well done to Alan, Gary and Alec for their work and dedication.